The Devil is in the Details

January 24, 2006

Topics: Blogging.

You are a web professional – a designer, a webmaster, developer of web software, or web entrepreneur. You need to have a website that works to the top standards of modern technologies to get ahead. In order to keep this level of excellence, you need to keep yourself aware of these technologies! Within the constantly changing field of web technology, there are certain things which are constants – aren’t there?

Maybe not! There are a lot of aspects to web technology which remain fundamentally unchanged from year to year, but, to quote an old proverb, the devil is in the details. To truly succeed, you not only must keep track of new technologies, but be aware of the changes in them.

Take Google, for example. Google’s PageRank algorithm, which they explain in very basic terms on their site. This is a fundamental description of the PageRank system – and accurate as far as it goes. To the other extreme, you can read Pagerank Explained Correctly with Examples, by Ian Rogers for an extremely detailed view.

Keep in mind that the actual PageRank algorithm is a highly protected trade secret, and all discussions of it are necessarily guesswork! In fact, there are comments in Rogers’ article which appear to no longer be true, as well. The bulk of the article is based on the original paper proposing the Google PageRank algorithm by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page in about 1997. Why should we assume that this remains unchanged?

The essence of the story, I’m afraid, is that it never ends – we always need to keep abreast of the latest changes in order to avoid being injured by the devil in the details.

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